C.J. Beathard's odds of being the backup to starting quarterback Brian Hoyer got a huge boost on Friday. Quarterback Matt Barkley, who Beathard had been competing with for the backup job, was the first reported player to be released on Friday as the 49ers started cutting their roster down to the required 53 players by Saturday's 1 p.m. PT deadline.

Following Thursday's 23-13 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach Kyle Shanahan stated that a decision on who would be the backup quarterback had already been made, but he didn't disclose the name of the player who had won the job. With Barkley now off of the roster, that job appears to belong to the rookie quarterback.

Beathard was selected out of Iowa with the 40th pick in the third round (104 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. During four preseason games with the 49ers, he completed 26 of his 45 passes for 314 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. On Thursday against the Chargers, Beathard showed some athleticism by running the football three times for 80 yards and a touchdown.

At the moment, the 49ers have three quarterbacks on their roster. They are Hoyer, Beathard, and undrafted rookie Nick Mullens. However, the team still has another wave of roster cuts to make by Saturday afternoon and it is possible they keep only two quarterbacks. That means Mullens may be another roster casualty but is a candidate for the 49ers practice squad.

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There is also a possibility the 49ers add a quarterback who was a roster casualty of another team, so Beathard's position on the depth chart is not yet set in stone, but the odds are very much in his favor.

"I would love to keep three quarterbacks," Shanahan said on Thursday night, "and that's going to be a hard debate – not about the quarterback position but how we look at the rest of the roster."

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